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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Ladies Night Day

Today is a special day.

11 years ago today (according to the Gregorian calendar) Zahava and I went from being just a couple of semi-adults who happened to be shacking up together (albeit with the consent and blessing of the government), to being entirely responsible for the care and upbringing of a whole new human being.

Although we now have three wonderful children (kenaynahara, tfu, tfu, tfu), each one completely unique and lavished with affection, there will always to be something special about our first child... the one that magically transformed us from a couple into a family.

Most kids shoot out of bed on their birthdays ready to take on the world. But Ariella woke me up early this morning to tell me (in an Academy Award caliber performance) that she had a stomach ache.  I went through all the fatherly motions; kissing her forehead to check for fever... all the while softly rubbing her neck for swollen glands and asking gentle questions to determine if this was a medical or emotional 'emergency'.

At the end of this careful layman's screening, I silently rendered a diagnosis of a patient in dire need of a 'mental health day' from school, but loudly agreed that she indeed looked sick, and sent her upstairs to snuggle back under the covers.

I happen to know that Zahava is going to be home all day.  I also suspect that, Ariella 'symptoms' not withstanding, the two of them will probably end up baking something and/or having an impromptu sewing lesson while the house is temporarily free of the menfolk.

There are some among you who will have read the end of the last paragraph and bridled a bit at the implied chauvinism.  Let me assure you that your concerns are misplaced.   

Ariella plays in the local little league and can hold her own against her brother, Gilad, on a bike, on a hike or in any number of other physically demanding activities (including a fight).  But with each passing day she is morphing into a woman... and she desperately wants to know the secrets that only my wife can impart.  At the same time that there is some natural 'pulling away' from her mother (in the form of sullenness and small arguments), there is also an obvious desire to connect with Zahava, and to 'tap into' that database of skills and information that Zahava learned from her mother.

In Zahava's family, sewing and cooking are not skills to be learned for their own sake (although, having learned from a master... Zahava is a master of both).  But rather, they seem to be the activity of choice that women of her family perform while sneaking up on matters of import.

I won't be at all surprised if I come home today to find tear-soaked tissue balled up in the corners of the couch.  I also won't be very shocked if both Zahava and Ariella act as though this were just another sick day. 

But if I see the sewing machine and a stack of patterns out on the dining room table... or if the kitchen counter is littered with handwritten recipe cards (in two or three generations of meticulous handwriting)... It will be a good indication that secret things have transpired in my absence, and that information, far beyond the mundane instruction of sewing and cooking, has passed between these two women that I love.

220_5

Posted by David Bogner on January 4, 2005 | Permalink

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oh, this is cryptic. ;)
Mazal tov in every respect!

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jan 4, 2005 2:58:45 PM

Happy Birthday to Ariella and mazal tov to you and Zahava. There is nothing finer than being a parent.

Posted by: Jack | Jan 4, 2005 4:31:51 PM

Yom Huledet Sameach [Happy Birthday], Ari. May your twelfth year be your best so far.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jan 4, 2005 4:41:42 PM

Happy Day of Birth Ariella!
(and yay! to other parents who understand the importance of the 'mental health day')

Posted by: lisa | Jan 4, 2005 7:10:32 PM

Very nice... Glad Ari is having a nice day. Aunti Val misses being with her to celebrate.

Posted by: val | Jan 4, 2005 10:44:16 PM

Oh . . . sniff, sniff . . . . that was so beautiful.
Sniff, sniff.

Posted by: Sarah | Jan 4, 2005 11:52:05 PM

Beautiful post, thank you. We parents are so blessed.

Posted by: Alice | Jan 5, 2005 7:07:50 PM

Mmmmm... yeah... well....

After several bouts of shilshul (back-door-trots, for all you non-Hebrew speakers) with one child, and the other child vomitting on the stairs I think it is safe to rule out the mental-health day premise THIS time....

SIGH.

Posted by: zahava | Jan 5, 2005 9:13:16 PM

shilshul- Now there is an unpleasant memory. In '85 a friend and I were in the shuk and made a mistake of buying some shawarma off of the rack and paid dearly for it.

There are few times in my life when I have run faster. Oy vey.

Posted by: Jack | Jan 5, 2005 9:17:51 PM

Beautiful post, mazal tov :-)

I'm in Israel by the way, and I can't even begin to describe how ECSTATIC I am to be here, and tomorrow and going to Jerusalem, the one and only. Can't wait!

Posted by: Hatshepsut | Jan 5, 2005 11:07:17 PM

Happy Birthday Ariella, Hope everyone has a speedy recovery(for Moms Sake)

Posted by: Shmiel (& VV) | Jan 6, 2005 3:23:45 AM

Oh, barfilacious! I hope all the Bogners have a speedy and complete recovery. It looks like Zahava needs a mental health day tomorrow.

By the way, shilshul is one of the many cool onomatopoeias in Hebrew. Another is bakbuk [bottle].

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jan 6, 2005 3:49:55 AM

David,
You really do write beautifully. Zehava, I am sorry that the kids are sick. May they have a refuah shleima, and may you have a day off soon!

Posted by: Faye | Jan 6, 2005 4:01:44 AM

There aren't many (men or women) who have that much insight into emotional and psychological needs of their child(ren) or otherwise. As for children, sometimes growth and knowledge must occur out of school even if it's a school day.

You must have had some wonderful parents, yourself.

Posted by: Donna Goldman | Jan 6, 2005 4:02:03 AM

Alice... I agree 100%, I just don't always think about it. This was my way of reminding myself.

Zahava... I think I would have been happier not knowing all that. Enough of that stuff happens on my watch! :-)

Hatshepsut... I hope you'll be in touch.

Doctor Bean... I know I'm going to hate myself for asking, but how do you figure? I know when you pour from a full bottle it sounds like 'bokbukbokbuk...'. Do you really think dia...um, 'the trots' sounds like 'shilshul'? =:~0

Donna... Yes, Zahava and I both had two imperfect, but wonderful role models... I hope our children can say the same.

Posted by: David | Jan 6, 2005 11:48:47 AM

"Do you really think dia...um, 'the trots' sounds like 'shilshul'?"
Trust me. I'm a doctor. :-D

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jan 6, 2005 8:59:21 PM

Doctor Bean... "Trust me. I'm a doctor"

Last time I heard that phrase, I was bent over a table listening to the chilling sound of a rubber glove being snapped into place [shudder].

Posted by: David | Jan 6, 2005 10:09:27 PM

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